Sarah Gador-Whyte

Dr Sarah Gador-Whyte

Research Fellow
Biblical and Early Christian Studies

Areas of expertise: late-antique and Byzantine hymnography and homiletics; Byzantine liturgy; late-antique cultural interactions; late-antique history and historiography; religious conflict; history of emotions

ORCID ID: 0000-0003-2935-653X

Phone: +61(03)99533307


Location: ACU Melbourne Campus

After studying classics and applied mathematics at the University of Melbourne, I completed a PhD on a late-antique hymnographer, Romanos the Melodist. This project, which studied the rhetoric and thought of a significant Byzantine liturgical writer, combined rhetorical and theological analysis with a historical understanding and awareness of the performative nature of his compositions. My book, Theology and Poetry in Early Byzantium, which arose out of my PhD dissertation, is published by Cambridge University Press. I am interested in cultural interactions in late antiquity. My work on Romanos placed him in the complex context of late antique liturgical writings, focusing on religious clashes, theological disputes and inheritance and literary influences, and explored the use of dialogue as an investigative, exploratory and exegetical tool. I have also worked on dialogue texts in times of religious conflict: the forced baptism of Jews under the emperor Heraclius. I am working on developing this project into a wider study of interreligious dialogue after the beginning of Islam. I also continue to work on Romanos and Byzantine homiletics and hymnography. In addition, I am collaborating on an international project on the night in late antiquity entitled The Wakeful Night: Nocturnal Imaginations, Encounters and Emotions in the Late Ancient Mediterranean.

Select publications


  • Theology and Poetry in Early Byzantium: the Kontakia of Romanos the Melodist.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017.

Journal Articles

  • ‘Performing Repentance in the Kontakia of Romanos the Melodist,’ Journal of Early Christian Studies, 28.1 (2020), 89-113.

Book chapters

  • Hymns, Homilies and Hermeneutics in Byzantium, co-edited with Andrew Mellas. Byzantina Australiensia (Leiden: Brill), 2021.
  • ‘Knowing in Song: Christian Formation in Romanos the Melodist’ in Sarah Gador-Whyte and Andrew Mellas (eds), Hymns, Homilies and Hermeneutics: Experiencing Liturgical Texts in Byzantium, Byzantina Australiensia (Leiden: Brill), 2021.
  • ‘Changing Conceptions of Mary in Sixth-Century Byzantium: The Kontakia of Romanos the Melodist’. In Questions of Gender in Byzantine Society, edited by Bronwen Neil and Lynda Garland, 77-92. Farnham: Ashgate, 2013.
    ‘Christian-Jewish conflict in the light of Heraclius’ forced conversions and the beginning of Islam’. In Religious Conflict from Early Christianity to Early Islam, edited by Wendy Mayer and Bronwen Neil, 201-214. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2013.


Mailing address

C/- 115 Victoria Pde
Fitzroy, VIC, 3065.